How Are My 2012 Goals Progressing?

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I thought it might be interesting to take a moment and review the goals I set for myself in 2012 and how they’re coming along. A regular review of one’s goals is a key part in making progress on them.

Get Fit the Right Way
I’ve had decent success with this, though not overwhelming success.

My goal for 2012 was to lose 52 pounds at a steady average of one pound per week. After twelve weeks, I’m down 8.4 pounds, which is certainly positive progress. Almost all of this has been due to diet, mostly through portion control. The food I eat is mostly pretty healthy – I’m a vegetarian, Sarah is about 90% of the way there, and we make most of our meals at home. My challenge is simply managing portions so I don’t consume too many calories, even if they’re good calories.

My biggest drawback has been lack of exercise due to a couple of factors: the winter weather keeping me inside and a nagging knee injury. As the weather has warmed, I’ve been spending more and more time outside, and I’m down two pounds over the last week.

Finish a Novel and Write Another One
I’ve perhaps had the strongest success with this goal. We’re not even three months into the year and I have one novel about 70% finished (first draft), another about 30% finished (again, first draft), and I’ve also been working on a frugality book that was requested by a publisher.

I enjoy writing. It’s something I love doing. I feel fulfilled when I’m putting words down on the printed page. I knew this would be my easiest goal for the year.

Perform 200 Hours of Community Service
So far, I’ve clocked around fifteen hours, which is a bit below pace.

However, many of the service activities I plan to be involved in are tied to the seasons. As spring gets going, I have two different projects I’m planning on involving myself with, with another being considered for the summer.

My biggest reason for planning this goal was that my community is important to me and, if I have the time and ability, I’d like to contribute towards keeping it a vibrant and beautiful place.

I think this goal will see success – or very close to it.

Create a Lasting Item for my Children and my Wife
This is, without a doubt, the most challenging of my goals for the year. I am having an incredibly difficult time moving forward with this.

I have many ideas about what I want to do, but whenever I’m faced with actually moving forward with it, I feel gloomy. I know the reason for it is to provide solace for those around me at a time when I would be unable to do it, but I can’t help but find myself dwelling on that situation and I’m filled with a bit of melancholy.

Lately, I have found a bit of success by just keeping the journals nearby and writing a few sentences in them a few times a day. I hope that this method will enable me to complete something of value with regards to this project this year.

Goals need reviews. They need to be tended and watched, whether they’re personal finance goals or other goals in life. Without attention, it’s easy to find the dreams you have for yourself withering on the vine.

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17 thoughts on “How Are My 2012 Goals Progressing?

  1. A journal is a great lasting item to create for your family! I think you’re stressing too much on this one. You could even write in there special moments throughout the year, hopes for each family member, gratitude and praise. I’m sure that would be a very cherished item!

  2. With regards to getting fit the right way, have you ever researched the paleo/primal way of nutrition and exercise? It´s based on what humans have been eating for millions of years and it aims at exercising in a similar way our ancestors would have. The great thing is, that there is no portion control involved in this, nor is excessive exercising necessary. Meals are planned around only natural (no artificial) ingredients, and you eat until you are satisfied. There is an entire community out there with overweight and also regular sized people improving their health by going paleo/primal. Maybe this might be an alternative to vegetarian for you.

  3. Great goals, and I like how you are truly honest in the progress of each one. As far as fitness, I would try setting up challenges. Make sure they push you while being obtainable. These are some of the things we promote at WeightTraining.com.

  4. “My biggest drawback has been lack of exercise due to a couple of factors: the winter weather keeping me inside and a nagging knee injury.”

    le sigh.

  5. Awesome progress :) One of my goals was to save at least $500 a week and I’ve been able to maintain this goal so far. Another goal that I have is to write a novel (haven’t started yet) and develop a few IPhone apps (in progress). I understand your stress pertaining to your “lasting item”,but I think your doing that right now :)

  6. You might try using one of the directed journals that have been created toward a similar purpose. The ones I’ve seen are somewhat similar to a baby book but intended for parents or grandparents to record their own lives – remembering key events, how you felt about xxx, major trends or new inventions developed during your lifetime, etc. Or even just use a directed journal that provides writing topics aligned with your values or interests. Then you could add any additional personal messages. They might take some of the sting out of the why & add more fun into the remembering & writing.

  7. winter weather? really? it was a very warm winter in Iowa. (I live in Ankeny) Sounds like you’re just making excuses

  8. Trent
    I remember you saying you were thinking about getting a treadmill desk. Did you? Love to hear your thoughts about its effectiveness

  9. My biggest drawback has been lack of exercise due to a couple of factors: the winter weather keeping me inside and a nagging knee injury not choosing to make exercise a high priority that overrules other things I like to do with my time and imperfect weather conditions.

  10. If possible, you should not work on many lifechanging goals at the same time.
    This is not a efficient way of doing things, and it increases the chance of failure on all of them.

    See:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vefDeoXCBbk
    Willpower: Self-control, decision fatigue, and energy
    For more details about how we now know the mind to work. Use this knowledge to your advantage and spread it to your readers.

    And keep up your good work, the world will need more frugal people very soon. :)

  11. As for the last goal: it is a great idea. But I do think that many people are fondly remembered for things they wouldn’t expect to be remembered for. Like my one grandpa who loved his pigeons and having them compete. It was “just” his hobby, but for my mother the memory of her father as a caretaker of those pigeons is important, and it brings back good and funny memories when she talks about it with her sister. Also, the fact that he helped her repair the house that was our home for twenty years was an awesome memory, and she still feels grateful for that. So you never know, what exactly will be the most precious memory others may have of you.

    I would focus more on keeping memories of this time for each of them, and telling them things there that they may be too young now to understand. It won’t mean you have to be dead for them to enjoy these memories, it just means that everyone forgets things, and by storing your current thoughts in those diaries, your kids will know more about what you thought, and will also have more second-hand memories of a time that they’ll hardly remember.

    Good luck with all these goals!

  12. A thought about weight loss: There’s an interesting article in Harper’s Magazine (1 or 2 months ago) about fasting. The author provides a bit of an extreme example, fasting for a week, but has some fascinating insights to offer. What interested me most is how the medical community is beginning to seriously explore the use of 3- to 4-day fasts before chemotherapy, since this appears to drastically reduce the nasty side effects of chemo and significantly increase the effectiveness.

    I’ve decided to try this myself as a weekly thing: For the past several weeks, every Saturday, I consume nothing but fluids until around 7 PM, effectively creating a 24-hour fast since my last meal. At some point, I may try a longer fast. I decided to do this for a variety of reasons: weight loss (that’s 2 meals fewer calories each week), to remind myself what hunger feels like (not as unpleasant as you may think), and to restore my appreciation for food (we all tend to take food for granted and eat without paying attention).

    It’s not easy at first (I get cold, and sometimes a bit lightheaded), but if I keep busy doing things, I don’t have significant problems. It’s not necessarily a “pleasant” experience, but it’s interesting and rewarding for the reasons mentioned above. To be clear on one point, this isn’t necessary a good overall dieting strategy; portion control, healthier foods, and exercise are a better long-term solution, and I’m working on all three.

    In terms of leaving a long-term gift for your family, something you’ve created with your own hands and heart, the journal is a great idea. Record the history of your life with your children and Sarah. That kind of history is precious beyond measure, and I wish I’d created such a thing long ago for my own kids.

  13. I’m going to second the Paleo/Primal diet.

    I use that and Crossfit 5x a week and I’ve lost about 10 lbs so far. Although weight loss on the scale is slow, I have lost inches and gained a significant amount of muscle.

    Paleo is fairly simple, too. :)

  14. I have been doing a 10 year journal. I bought it online a few years ago- it lists the date an then has 4-5 lines for each year. It also has sections in the back where I make notes about house, medical, car stuff and large purchases made. It has the whole month list at the start of each month to jot 2-3 words. I write my goals for each year and can easily look back at them. I have been doing it for about 4 years now and it is fascinating to look back at what happened on the current date for the past 4 years. Because it is only 4-5 lines it isn’t as big of a commitment. I write it so that it will be suitable for my children to read in the future. It is definitely one I the items I would grab if my house was on fire! I also have started writing letters to my children. I write one to my 5 year old- addressing it “to my kindergarten Hailey”, sealed it and put it in the safe for her to someday read. It just has my thoughts about her, what I love, what I appreciate about her.

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